Town to Country: home for the holidays with Molly Hatch

Artist Molly Hatch

We caught up with artist/designer Molly Hatch for a brief interview celebrating the launch of our exclusive Town to Country holiday collection. These whimsical designs include an Advent calendar, a tree skirt, towels, stockings, ornaments, a milk-and-cookie ceramic set, and seasonal bedding. They tell the story of a family from the city venturing out to the country to find the ideal tree, then returning home to decorate it. Molly’s modern color scheme and quirky line art make each design look like festive storybook illustrations.

Town-to-Country Holiday Decor Collection with Artwork from Molly Hatch

Here’s what Molly had to say about her inspiration, artistic aesthetic, new book, and working with Garnet Hill:

Q: We’ve noticed that there’s a little nod to the nostalgic in your work. How do your past and upbringing find their way into your designs?

A: My past definitely informs my designs. For the Town to Country collection in particular, I am referencing my memories of growing up in the mountains of Vermont and the gathering of the tree. This story has become the illustrated narrative for these designs. I have the fondest recollections of living among Vermont’s rolling hills, with the stars and a low-hanging moon making the snowy meadows almost glow. There is certainly a wintery magic that happens after the snow first falls. I also loved living in Boston—the city is full of brownstones and the urban winter scene contrasts with the trees and snow-covered fields once you leave the country. You could say this collection is a bit of an homage to my traditions, both past and present.

Q: What are your fondest holiday memories and traditions?

A: One of my favorite holiday traditions with my family is foraging for the tree. We always go on Christmas Eve. As a child, I wanted to get the tree much earlier, but my parents continued a family tradition of waiting until Christmas Eve to bring it home and decorate it. My father is a forester, so he knows the local Vermont woods. We would take a long hike or snowshoe into the woods to find a large tree that had naturally fallen. My father always scoped it out and found it for us before we ventured out. We would usually have to take just the top for our Christmas tree. As we cut, we always said a little thank you to the tree. There really isn’t anything better than retelling family memories as you pull out and hang old and new decorations on the tree. It’s a magical time of the year.

Q: Your body of work ranges from stationery and mugs to ceramic art installations in art galleries. What is your creative process?

A: I began my career as a studio potter, throwing pots and hand-decorating everything I sent to market. I have actually grown two careers from my early potter days; they helped me evolve into both an artist and a designer. All of my work is rooted in history. Whether it’s a piece for the fine-art market or for collaborations like my Town to Country collection for Garnet Hill, I always look back to find the inspiration for the new objects I design and create. 

Artist Molly Hatch at Work

Q: How would you describe your design aesthetic?

A: My design aesthetic is modern yet grounded in the traditional. The inspiration I gather from history is familiar to most of us in some way. Folks who enjoy and collect my pieces feel that they know the object from a past reference point, but at the same time, these items are unexpectedly modern, new interpretations of past treasures. In many ways, my designs become icons of the past and its traditions as well as fun, witty interpretations of something very familiar.

Artist Molly Hatch at Work

Q: Your work is so distinctive, so whimsical. Where do you find your inspiration? Which artists and artistic movements inspire your work?

A: I particularly love the opulence and craftsmanship of the 18th century. I think my handwork makes the 18th-century aesthetic more folky and quirky, which I love. There is so much happening in this time period, so much to reference! 

A Passion for China: Book by Molly HatchQ: Your book A PASSION FOR CHINA launched November 21. Please tell us all about it.

A: To read from the book, “As we move through our daily lives, eating breakfast, sipping an afternoon cup of tea or gathering for a family dinner, the patterned ceramic objects we live with are precious witnesses to our stories. We eat from them, they warm our hands after a cold walk outdoors and we pull them out to celebrate the births, marriages and lives of our loved ones.” A PASSION FOR CHINA is a personal celebration of the everyday beauty of tableware. I explore the family stories behind beloved items, the bowls and cups we have inherited or chosen with love and care. I also bring the history of porcelain, potteries and patterns to life with an informal eye for fascinating detail. This book is a tribute to the rich heritage of the vintage plates, jugs, and pots that make our homes our own.

Get into the holiday spirit of the season with our latest collection, including exclusive Molly Hatch designs.

Molly Hatch Designs

How to make a naturally beautiful holiday wreath

In the spirit of the season, we took a trip down the road to visit our friends at Tarrnation Flower Farm in Franconia, New Hampshire. The shop was prepping for the decorating season by making wreaths with local greenery and accents gathered and dried over the course of the year.

Vanessa Tarr took some time to show us how to make a wreath to decorate our home or give as gifts. These are her easy steps to crafting beautiful designs inspired by nature.

She says that it usually takes about an hour to make your first wreath, but with her years of practice, Vanessa has it down to about 20 minutes — that’s Santa speed.

How to Make a Christmas Wreath: Tarrnation Flower Farm

SUPPLIES YOU’LL NEED

  • Wreath frame (a 10” ring will make a 20” wreath)
  • Floral wire (we recommend 22 gauge)
  • Sharp clippers
  • Wreath greens cut and organized into piles
  • Decorative ingredients like pinecones, berries, and dried flowers
  • Hot glue gun with glue cartridge
  • Small and large floral picks (large picks can always be cut, if small ones are not available)

How to Make a Christmas Wreath: Tarrnation Flower Farm

For greenery, we used balsam boughs for the main structure and added in a mix of cedar, juniper, and princess pine. We liked the cedar, because it had tiny cones nestled in with its greens. Juniper berries were plentiful this year and the branches are so fragrant, so we used them as a second layer. Princess Pine is a much more delicate green, so it adds depth and dimension on top of sturdier greens. It grows low to the ground, so it has to be collected before the snow covers it.

HOW TO MAKE A WREATH

1. Start by wrapping the end of wire on the frame. You will not clip the wire until the very end, so make sure it is secured with several twists around the frame.

How to Make a Christmas Wreath: Tarrnation Flower Farm

2. Take a handful of greens; about 4-6 sprigs fanned out in a cluster. Start with the balsam to give the wreath structure and support, and then layer in one or two other evergreens.

3. Lay the bundle flat against the frame on the table. Attach it to the frame by wrapping the stems to the frame three times with the wire. The wire should be sturdy against the frame, but not so tight that it breaks.

4. Back the bundle with another piece of balsam to conceal the frame and wrap it a couple more times with the wire. This will finish the reverse side to give the wreath a finished look on both sides, allowing the recipient to hang the wreath on a window without the wire frame showing.

How to Make a Christmas Wreath: Tarrnation Flower Farm

5. Create another bundle and layer it over the first bundle a couple inches down the frame. The bundles should overlap, creating additional support and stability. Arrange the handful of greens, loop with the wire, back it, and continue the process to fill the wreath.

How to Make a Christmas Wreath: Tarrnation Flower Farm

If the bundles are too far apart you’ll start to see thinning and holes between bundles. If they are too close together, the wreath will become too bushy. Try not to get frustrated (think ho ho ho and all that!). You can always clip and prune to shape the wreath after you are done, and remember, it’s bendable wire so you can always unloop and redo the last bundle that you placed.

6. Work your way around the wreath frame until you are back where you started. You want to make it look full, but leave space to create a hook to hang your wreath when finished. To do this, lift the original bundle you started the wreath with. Get that last bundle as close as you can to the stems of the first bundle. Doing so, will make the wreath look seamless, and that is the ultimate goal.

7. Anchor your last bundle and back it, making your final loops with the wire. Press the bundles down or fluff them with your fingers as needed to make the wreath look full and seamless. Fill with small bunches and backing if that last section is sparse.

8. Lift it up and examine your work, looking for holes and asymmetry. When you feel that you’re done, wrap the wire a couple more times around the frame and cut, but leave approximately 8” of wire to craft the hanging hook.

How to Make a Christmas Wreath: Tarrnation Flower Farm

9. With that remaining 8” of wire, twist it to form a loop. The loop should sit lower than the height of the boughs in front of it, so that the hanger is hidden when the wreath is hung. It’s a good idea to tie a tiny piece of ribbon to the loop, so you don’t lose it. The wire is designed to camouflage beautifully and you would be surprised how hard it can be to find it again.

How to Make a Christmas Wreath: Tarrnation Flower Farm

10. Examine it from the back to make sure it looks good on both sides.

How to Make a Christmas Wreath: Tarrnation Flower Farm

11. Now it’s time to decorate. Dried flowers, pinecones, berries, feathers, collected objects are great finishing touches for your wreath. You can glitz it up as much as you’d like or keep it natural with the trimmings from fields to forests. For our wreath, we used Limelight Millet, Tamarack pinecones, German Statice, and red berries (Rosa Multa Flora).

Lay all your decorative trimming out, like you did with your greens, to take inventory. Arrange your selections on the wreath moving in the same direction that you did to craft the evergreen layer. This is your last chance to fill holes.

How to Make a Christmas Wreath: Tarrnation Flower Farm

12. When you are happy with the composition, start to attach the decorative elements using the floral picks and/or a hot glue gun. The floral picks are best for small and delicate trimming and the glue is better for more substantial items, like pinecones. Go light with the glue, because it can be messy. Systematically work your way around the wreath, pressing and holding the glued objects to make sure that they stay put. If using the floral picks, work them into the bundles, so that they are completely concealed.

How to Make a Christmas Wreath: Tarrnation Flower Farm

13. Continue to clip and fluff as needed, once everything is fixed in place.

If you happen to be in the area, stop by the farm and see Vanessa’s work and get a little inspiration first hand. Her and her staff’s wreath designs are beautiful ways to bring the natural splendor of Northern New Hampshire and New England to your front door.